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Meet Michael J Lee of Michael J Lee Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael J Lee.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Michael J. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have a bachelors degree from Wentworth in Interior Design. As a Designer, working for Richard FitzGerald we had just finished a penthouse gut renovation and the builder was very keen on getting it published. They hired a photographer and I spent the day styling the shoot. I enjoyed that aspect so much that I later reached out to that photographer to see if I could collaborate on styling shoots with him. The project was presented to New England Home Magazine, who re-shot the project. That was the first time I’d been on a magazine shoot and I fell in love with the process.

It was that day that I decided to become a photographer. I approached Richard about the idea and he was very supportive and encouraged me to “practice” photographing all of our client’s projects, which I spent about 7 months doing. I then took the portfolio I’d created and started meeting with all the Designers’ I had known socially. One thing led to another and before I knew it, my first photography jobs where for some of the best-known Designers in New England: like William Hodgins, Anthony Catalfano, Judy Ross, Charles Spada and Michael Carter… That tremendous level of talented Designers’ giving me feedback from the very beginning was immeasurable to my growth!!!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In the very beginning, my friend; Jim M-Geough gave me the most honest advice. He said, “you know a lot of Designers, and they are all going to promise you editorial opportunities in exchange for free photography, don’t do it…” That was very difficult for me in the beginning, I’m self-taught you see and that has always been a cloud over me. How could I command a competitive rate with absolutely no experience?

I’m sure that hurt me in the beginning however to Jim’s credit, I can confidently say that that earned me respect. The most difficult obstacle came four years into my business. I was struck by a motorcycle while I was walking in a crosswalk. My right leg was shattered and I had a titanium rod installed. I was unable to drive and was on crutches for 7 months. When I look back that slowed down a lot of the momentum. However, that period also introduced me to some of my best clients and there has always been this tight bond that was born out of me on crutches and they trust me to do my job.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I specialize in Interiors Photography for Designers and Design Shelter Publications. I try to be as involved as possible from the beginning. I like to encourage a scouting visit, to allow the Designer and I to see how space looks in the camera. I am eager to spend as much time as possible, discussing the day of the shoot. What the angles will be and how the spaces will be styled and staged. I am meticulous about every detail, I like to get things as correct as possible in camera and then tether to the computer so we can develop something truly powerful and beautiful.

As a former Designer, having had the privilege to have worked with Celeste Cooper for 3 years and then Richard FitzGerald for 13 years. I understand, intimately the relationship between homeowner and Designer. My greatest joy is offering the opportunity to a Designer to complete their vision, impeccably. There will always, and inevitably be a moment when I can read in the Designer, this realization that the photograph is everything they had in their mind… for me, that is worth everything!!!

I believe what sets me apart is three things:
1. Education: because of my 16 years as a Designer, I know what I’m looking at and can be a true partner to the Designers’ I collaborate with.
2. Quality: I only use the absolute best quality prime lenses available. I invest heavily in technology and I am consistently updating my camera bodies and software so I can offer the very best that is currently available.
3. Transparency: I truly believe in talking out concepts, really listening to what my clients want and offering everything in my power to complete my clients’ vision.

What were you like growing up?
I was very quiet as a kid. I wasn’t completely comfortable in my skin and that honestly didn’t change until I moved to Boston for college. Then for whatever reason, I had the opportunity to start with a blank slate. I loved to cook and sketch and ride my bike. When I was about 15, I knew I wanted to be an architect. My Mother would bring me to open houses and I’d sit in the car and sketch how I thought the home layout might be. I, of course, was wrong every time but I learned so much about how a home was laid out and became more and more interested in the feeling of a home and how the layout was intrinsic to how a house can be a home.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

D’Aquino Monaco, Robin Gannon Interiors, KT2 Design Group – Kalah Talancy, Daher Interior Design – Paula Daher, Elms Interior Design – Dee Elms, FD Hodge Interiors – Frank Hodge, Hudson Interior Design – Jill Goldberg

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Joan Smith

    January 2, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Congratulations Michael. Your work is totally fabulous. Thank you for sharing. May good fortune be yours for many years to come.

    Joan Smith
    Montclair, New Jersey

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